Zimbabwe: Mtetwa Torches Storm, Accuses Magistrate of Prejudging Chin'ono

14 September 2021

BEATRICE Mtetwa, the lawyer representing journalist, Hopewell Chin'ono who is facing charges of inciting public violence Monday asked magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti to recuse herself on allegations that she is biased.

Mtetwa said it would be unfair for Muchuchuti to preside over Chin'ono's trial as she has already determined his fate.

This assertion is based on the magistrate's previous rulings against her client.

Chin'ono is being accused of inciting the public to commit public violence after he retweeted a post by politician Jacob Ngarivhume calling for anti-government protests last July.

The State had asked the court that they were ready for trial, but Mtetwa objected saying she had another matter at the High Court.

Mtetwa also said Muchuchuti could not preside over the trial since she had already suggested that Chin'ono had a case to answer during an application for exception.

"There is a pending review at the High Court on your ruling. The grounds for review your worship include certain pronouncement and the ruling which suggests you believe in the guilty of the accused and in our respectful view those comments naturally are concerns to the accused and your impartiality is therefore doubtful when you made those pronouncements. So, we apply that we wait for the review proceedings. you have to recuse yourself, " Mtetwa submitted.

" In any event the lead counsel is not available. You are aware that there is no concentration since there is no affidavit of yourself to answer your allegations and as it is our application is not contested at the High Court. For that reason, we may seek the postponement of the matter."

"You have the power to postpone a matter and the reason obviously is for the justice to be done," Mtetwa further said.

The State however opposed to the application saying the application before the High Court is yet to be set down and cannot stop these proceedings since there is no order from the High Court.

Muchuchuti rolled over the matter to this Tuesday for ruling.

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